So…how do ya’ll want to run this?

Part 1 has now been edited. It isn’t done by any means,I like to read things a LOT of times before I call them done. That being said I’ve been sitting on these damn words for so long that, now that I’ve given them the first once-over, some cracks are starting to appear in my facade of silence. It’s possible that some very large chunks of text have been emailed to some longtime readers. And it’s possible that this trend shall continue.

The cat is very slowly being let out of the bag. What this means is that I need to start figuring out exactly how I’m going to go about releasing this book.

Normally a book is picked over by dozens of people before its release, like reviewers to editors, and then it becomes available for large scale sale on a certain date.  The thing is, you are my reviewers and editors and I’m sort of inclined to invite some of you into the process because I think that’s fun…and also because I need help finding those damned typos. They’re like cockroaches they are.

On the other hand I also want to have a big opening day release for my book because that also sounds like fun, my book deserves a proper birthday party, and I think that starting everyone off at the same time helps build buzz. Maybe. We tend to aim for slow builds as far as marketing goes here at Joseph Devon Industries. We’re like the mother fucking Ravel’s Bolero of this business.

Yes.

Sooooo…yeah. I’m going to need some readers in the near future.

Think that over and get back to me.

I’ve Missed Rewriting Like This

Rewrites continue and I continue to enjoy them.

Most people have forgotten, or never knew, that Probability Angels was written in serial format. It was part of an experiment called 26 Stories in 52 Weeks. The Matthew and Epp stories, as they were known back then, were written section by section, once a month give or take, all within their own separate two week deadline.  This means that over the course of fourteen days each part was conceived, written and rewritten before being published online.

This book has sat unread by me for over a year. The difference between those two rewriting processes is large. When you only wrote something a week ago and need to rewrite it your head is filled with the images and dialogue and characters to the point where it becomes very hard to see what words are actually there instead of the words you want to be there. It’s like listening to a song that you’ve listened to a billion times and trying to hear it new. The song takes up so much space in your psyche that the task is difficult, to say the least. Some songs you can hear so many times that you aren’t even listening to the same song anymore, you start to pick up new sounds and nuances and what have you. These are the sorts of songs that you can sing along to and you’re not only singing the words but you have every breath from the singer memorized and you know all the drum strokes and every warble of the guitar. I know parts of “Sympathy for the Devil” and “Rosalita” that should, by all means, be merely background noise. Getting distance from something you know backwards and forward is very odd, and getting distance is what rewriting is all about.

The words I’m going over now are entirely unfresh in  my mind and it’s a wonderful feeling to be able to see my own mistakes clearly, to not hit a muddy sentence and still sort of know what I was going for but, instead, immediately know it should be dismissed.

Not to mention I don’t quite remember a lot of these scenes way back in the beginning so it’s almost like I’m reading it for the first time.

Almost.

Reading something I’ve written for the first time is something I never get to do. Because, you know, I’m the one that wrote it, so even on my first read through I still know what’s coming. It’s like a magician being amazed at his own trick.

It just never happens.

*sniff*

The Joys of Rewriting

I forgot how much first drafts suck. There is nothing like having to carve out that first pass at your story from pure nothingness. I swear it’s an act that would be considered madness in any other context. Basically I cram as many voices as possible into my head and then collaborate with them to tell a 100,000 word long lie that I expect people to spend their free time reading.

Makes perfect sense.

But rewriting? Oh, sweet sweet rewriting avoids so many of the crappy parts of the first draft. Everything is set. That’s the big one. Sure I may need to change a ton of things in a ton of scenes to get my work where I want it, but the basic framework is already down. The first draft is like staring at a giant block of stone and trying to figure out what it’s going to be. You have no idea, it has no idea, you have to literally carve everything out of nothing with no path to follow. Rewrites are like having your basic sculpture in place, you can see that that it’s a guy standing on a rock, and you know that maybe his feet need work or the rock doesn’t look right and needs detailing done, but it’s not like you’re going to have to go in and make the rock into a zebra and turn the guy into the Amazon river. Which is pretty much what you feel like when you’re turning nothing into something during that first pass.

There’s also a nice built in end-point. Sure I may need to lengthen some scenes and some chunks might be more work than I realize but for the most part my page count is my page count and I know that X number of pages a day times Y number of days will bring me to the end of one whole read through. A handful of those and suddenly we’re releasing in beta. During the first draft you have a vague idea of where you’re ending is but until you write “The End” it’s never actually there and the words could keep coming and coming for weeks and weeks for all you know.

Finally there’s the new-found freedom. A first draft requires a stupid amount of discipline. There’s a belief that writing is an ethereal process that can take place anywhere and is full of inspiration and magic and marshmallows. I’ve never really found that to be the case. I dunno, maybe I’m doing it wrong, but in my experience the ethereal and joyous part lasts for, at most, the first third of a book. After that it just becomes a desk job. One that requires you to be at your desk at a certain time every day or else you lose your thread, get punished by the writing monster and are then forced to reorganize your brain so that you can pick up your storyline again.

Rewrites have none of that, you can read through ten pages here, ten pages there, and if you have a hangover during one part you can count on yourself to fix that part up better on the next pass. The odds of being hungover for the exact same parts for every read through are quite slim.  With a first draft if you start taking that mentality, if you start leaving chunks to be finished later, then you don’t really wind up with a first draft, you wind up with an outline. And that’s not the same thing at all.

Anyway, we’re off and running on the final leg of this process and I’m enjoying it immensely. At least I’m enjoying it so far. Sooner or later it’s bound to become mundane and the newness is bound to wear off and then we’ll get a post listing all the things I hate about rewriting…but for now, “Huzzah for the Land of Rewrites!”

The Beginning of Rewriting

God this is weird. Rewriting consists of rereading your work over and over again. At least it does for me. I understand that the process differs from person to person but, for me, I just like to sit at my computer and read and read and read and then reread and then rereread and correct and reshape as I go. I really need to get under the hood in order to tinker around.

However, I haven’t read a single word of this book since I started writing it outside of the briefest of scans a few sentences up at the start of each day to reorient myself. Oh, and I think way back when I tinkered with the opening a bit. But  basically I’m reading this for the first time which is…wow this is a weird experience.

On the other hand I left my running shoes in New Jersey this weekend and I dropped my razor in the toilet when unpacking my Dopp Kit (n0 idea how to spell that) and today sucks so I think the thing to do is go watch the Bachelorette at a friend’s house and then maybe watch Inception at like midnight and then see how tomorrow goes.

Which is technically today for you. Because this will post in the morning.

It’s kind of like time travel this thing we do here.

The Contest Winner Revisited

So Victoria Spurling finally received her prize for winning the fan art contest. She chose the Wacom tablet and there was some craziness with Amazon but eventually it got there. She says it’s great and she’s really enjoying it…not that I understand drawing enough to truly grasp its benefits.

At any rate, she was kind enough to color in one of her unfinished entries and send it back to me.

I love this picture. I can’t wait to get it over to Kinko’s to have it printed out proper.

Then I can hang it up on my wall with all the others…

Thanks so much, guys!

Oh, and if any of you would be interested in drawing something from the new book please drop me an email. I’m thinking of putting together a countdown of art on here during the lead up to the sequel’s release.

First Draft is Done

Good lord that was not fun towards the end. I thought I’d be done a week ago and my beard growth reflected my misjudgment. Damned thing was a tad uncomfortable there towards the end. And shaving a beard off is very weird.

But the first draft is done! Whooooooooo!!!

Now for a very long break from my computer where I don’t type a damned thing. And then the rewrites start. And also I have to figure out the best way to release a new book across multiple publishing formats while utilizing the web to build my audience.

Uhhhh…

Hey! Here’s some pictures of my beard before it went bye-bye!

I like the third one because it looks like I’m eating my Rubik’s Cube.

Joe out.

Slow News Day

Between dancing extremely close to the end of this current book, my beard, wave one of family visiting and the holiday weekend at the beach I completely forgot to put up a post for Tuesday. I haven’t missed a post in a number of years. It’s sort of a weird feeling. Given my millions of fans and non-stop paparazzi coverage you no doubt read all about it in one of the numerous articles that have flooded magazines and newspapers over the past twenty four hours. There was also the special edition of 60 Minutes with all sixty of their minutes dedicated to my absence in their, as it seemed to me anyway, desperate attempt to cash in on the situation in order to snag an Emmy nomination. An excerpt is available for viewing below. This is from the segment, “Where Have You Gone, Joe Deveggio?”

God, 60 Minutes comes up with the worst titles.

Also, since the whole, “Wait a minute, that’s not a 60 Minutes excerpt!” joke was probably a wash seeing as how you could see what video was actually going to play the whole time, here’s another one. The end of this one still brings me to tears:

Behold My Evil Powers

We’re really close to the end of this book. Seriously. I’m screwing around with the last few scenes. The first draft is giddily close to being done.

However, I didn’t really have a lot left in the tank for a post so I decided to destroy your brain. Also the picture for this post has nothing to do with anything. I downloaded a picture of an evil mad scientist but Windows Whatever I’m Using enjoys putting my downloads wherever the fuck it wants to so I have no idea where that picture went. But I had a picture of Twinkies handy.

Anyway, on to the brain destroying.

After reading this let me know if it’s still in your head at the end of the day:

When I wake up yeah I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who wakes up next to you
When I go out yeah I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who goes along with you

If I get drunk yes I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who gets drunk next to you
And if I haver yeah I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who’s havering to you

But I would walk 500 miles
And I would walk 500 more
Just to be the man who walked 1000 miles
To fall down at your door

When I’m working yes I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who’s working hard for you
And when the money comes in for the work I’ll do
I’ll pass almost every penny on to you

When I come home yeah I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who comes back home to you
And if I grow old well I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who’s growing old with you

But I would walk 500 miles
And I would walk 500 more
Just to be the man who walked 1000 miles
To fall down at your door

When I’m lonely yes I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man whose lonely without you
When I’m dreaming yes I know I’m gonna dream
Dream about the time when I’m with you.

But I would walk 500 miles
And I would walk 500 more
Just to be the man who walked 1000 miles
To fall down at your door

(by The Proclaimers)